Unico, the beloved unicorn created by Osamu “God of Manga” Tezuka, might be having a comeback! A Kickstarter has begun to fund a new Unico comic, Unico Awakening, written by writer Samuel Sattin and illustrated by artist team Gurihiru. Their goal is to make $50,000. Sattin spoke to Otaku USA about the Kickstarter perks, working with Tezuka Productions, and how he got involved with Unico.
How did you get involved in this project?
Being somewhat obsessed with Osamu Tezuka for a long time, I count my blessings when thinking about how fortunate I was to get involved. A good friend and manga-aficionado introduced me to who is now a close colleague. He facilitated the possibility for me to pitch an idea to the company to reboot Unico, and—I still get chills thinking about this next part—it was accepted! From there, Gurihiru came onboard, and after a year or so of work, we were on our way to making a new Unico.
What is your background in anime and manga?
Manga and anime imprinted on me when I was young—like what happens with baby birds when they hatch, you know? How they have no idea that they’re birds, so they visually identify with whatever species is raising them. I read and watch everything, but manga and anime have a formative influence on me. Professionally speaking, I’ve worked on cultural criticism in anime, and will have a book coming out in the future, co-written with a friend, reflecting that. But most of all, my love of manga and anime can be seen in the fiction I write. And how it takes up a sizable portion of my bookshelves.
What is it like working with Tezuka Productions?
Wonderful. They’re a creative company filled with intelligent people who care about preserving the core ideas of Osamu Tezuka, of carrying on his profound sense of artistry. They’re also really kind, I noticed, and have a lot of great ideas. Working with them has honestly been nothing but a pleasure.
Do you have a favorite Tezuka title?
MW left a mark on me. It’s one of Tezuka’s darkest books, and also happened to be written at the exact same time as UNICO, which I didn’t know about until after I pitched the project. MW is a very heavy book, and I think it really gets at some of the ideas Tezuka was trying to work out in his heart of hearts. It’s also a masterclass on cartooning. His command of visual narrative is, to me, unparalleled. He simply spoke the language of comics.
What sort of goodies are being offered with the Kickstarter?
We have a lot of wonderful things to offer, including limited edition prints from renowned international artists like Kamome Shirahama (WITCH HAT ATELIER), Junko Mizuno (REVINA THE WITCH), Akira Himekawa (LEGEND OF ZELDA), and Tomm Moore (WOLFWALKERS). And we also have some incredibly unique paper print items from American cartoonists that we refer to as Artifacts. Additionally, we’ll be revealing some high tier items, some of which we think will really turn some heads. I’m just excited to be able to show it all to you, and thank you for taking the time to interview me.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin. She is also the author of its upcoming sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.